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Surprise Find While Beach Detecting In Australia


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"A police station in Melbourne's east has been forced into lockdown after a couple brought in a 19th century cannonball they discovered buried on a beach. Fairlie Pirouc, from Croydon, was trying out a metal detector she bought for $75 from a community noticeboard when she unearthed the 3-kilogram missile at Mornington on Tuesday."

Full story at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-23/cannonball-found-on-beach-sends-police-station-into-lockdown/7873456

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Sucks that they just took it from her....and then destroyed it. I watched a video somewhere of a guy that defuses the civil war canon balls so they can be turned into safe relics...

strick

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Pretty cool find...there is a 100lb civil war cannon ball buried along the fence line in a backyard in Saratoga. I know exactly where it was because I'm the one who left it there. It was about fifteen years ago and the dog kept digging under the fence in this one spot, the cannon ball was handy in a pinch to keep the dog in the yard and it just kind of stayed there. When I sold the house the cannon ball was pretty much out of sight and is probably still there. Somebody will find it in a hundred years and Saratoga war history will be rewritten and my old house declared a national monument civil war battlefield.

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 As much as I would like to see that it was defused and saved as the relic it was, it's very very dangerous to do even for the experts which are few and far between, modern Bomb Squads aren't up to the task, or I should say the risk involved in defusing them,that's why they explode these relics instead, IMHO 1000 old cannonballs aren't worth the life of even one person.

The experts that know how to defused or risk defusing these relics aren't modern Bomb Squad personnel but are themselves historians and relic enthusiasts first and foremost, one such expert, Sam White was considered one of if not the best at defusing these old cannonballs, sadly he died in 2008 defusing a Civil War cannonball, this just goes to show how dangerous it is defusing one even for an expert.

http://www.americandigger.com/SamWhiteAccident.htm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/05/02/virginia-man-killed-in-civil-war-cannonball-blast.html

One other expert at defusing these cannonballs that Steve may very well know is Steve Phillips of Southern Skin Divers Supply in Alabama who has gone to Nome for many, many years to dredge for gold both in the ocean and inland, Steve has the best way IMHO to defuse these cannonballs without risking someone getting killed, the risk involved is when one is drilling a hole in the cannonball to remove the black powder, one little spark and BOOM , Steve has build a shed and rigged up a remote controlled drilling press to do the drilling while Steve is safely out of harms way, once the hole is drilled there's no more danger involved, one has to just empty the black powder from the cannonball.

A link to Steve's website..(there's no mention of his cannonball defusing on the website, just diving, dredging, etc.)

http://www.ssdsupply.com/

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Did they all have black powder inside? The one I left buried at the old house came from a stack of balls at the  Presidio in San Francisco back around 1935, my dad acquired at least 3 of them that I'd heard about and two of them were made into a bar bell and the other was made into a kettle bell with a handle welded onto it. My dad and a friend had a weight lifting gym on sutter street in San Francisco. They could have given real meaning to the term dead weight with those things, although it must be tough to get them to go off. The kettle bell cannon ball was repeadidly dropped from the top of a six foot step ladder to break up a concrete deck and for no good reason when I was in high school it seemed like a good idea to restore the ball more to its original form and I took my cutting torch and removed the steel handle that was welded onto the ball, my dad jumped my a** for doing that when he saw what was going on and warned me of the danger. Never could figure out if that was a concern why he was welding stuff to them in the first place and dropping it from a ladder if they could explode, never went off with all the abuse I put it through, but if it's dangerous I probably should go back talk to the new owners and dig it up...

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The cannon balls were about the same size as a basket ball and I remember it having one or two square indents about an inch deep and on the sides. Other than that they were plain steel balls, I think there are still some of the old balls stacked out there (behind fences) now on display in little cannon ball pyramids, at least there used to be a few years ago.

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Some cannonballs were solid shot, all cannonballs were cast iron with the exception of a few lead balls, none were made of steel, brass or other metals.

https://archive.org/stream/ordnancemanualfo00unitrich#page/n7/mode/2up

All solid shot should be void of indentations other than pitting from corrosion, I have never seen or heard of a solid cannonball with holes in them square or otherwise.  

The ones that had black powder in them would of had a fuse hole, earlier ones had just a round hole for a wooden fuse, later ones would have a threaded hole for a metallic fuse, one such fuse was the Bormann fuse, see attached photos, the last photo shows the hole drilled to disarm/defuse/remove the black powder from the cannonball. 

Bormann fuse.

Image result for Bormann fuse

Bormann fuse in a cannonball

00558_2.jpg

The above Bormann cannonball with a drilled hole to remove the black powder..

Image result for Bormann fuse

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Hmmm, thanks gold seeker... I typed steel, but ment iron. The ones my dad had did have some kind of a squarish slot or slots, but for sure no flat areas or seams that I remember. The story was they came directly from a pile of balls stored somewhere on the military base, I'm pretty sure that's accurate, so if they weren't cannon balls I don't know what else they would have been... Sounds like they would have been solid shot.

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